Owning a home is a symbol of success and security in the United States, and, like any other measure of success, the sky is the limit. Though scenery and sea level vary drastically across the world’s most expensive real estate markets, all entries at the top of the list are densely-populated metropolitan areas.

While determining the most expensive cities in the world in which to buy real estate is somewhat subjective due to constantly fluctuating market prices and factors, a combination of dense populations, historical and financial significance, and awe-inspiring natural and man-made scenery put these cities among the top.

Geneva

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Perhaps best known for its role in international law and diplomatic neutrality, Geneva, Switzerland, is also the world’s fifth most expensive city in which to buy a home. One million dollars is the running price for 41 square meters of land in the most populous city of the French-speaking Romandy region of Switzerland. Geneva still houses many of the headquarters to many of the most significant international institutions, including the U.N. and Red Cross.

London

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A cup of tea can cost you a pretty penny in the capital of the United Kingdom, which holds one of the top spots on the list of the world’s most expensive real estate markets. Among the most expensive sections of London, Kensington and Chelsea come it at a staggering £19,439 per square meter. Perhaps it should be no surprise that so many people compete to live in the city that boasts the world’s top spot in many categories, including most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, and most vegetarian friendly.

New York

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New York City easily pushes its way into the top spot for real estate prices in the United States. While most properties range around the more “reasonable" $2,000–$4,000 per-square-foot, some luxury sky-rise properties break through the $10,000 per-square-foot price. With a rich American history, the home of the stock exchange, the Statue of Liberty, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York is both the most populous and the most densely populated city in America. Estimates from 2017 place the population at 8.6M distributed over a land area of 302.6 square miles.

Hong Kong

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One million dollars will afford you 22 square meters of prime real estate in the world’s leading financial center, the former British colony of Hong Kong. Once a scarcely populated rural and fishing area, Hong Kong is now a special administrative region with a government separate from mainland China. Hong Kong is the world’s fourth most densely populated region of earth with the largest number of skyscrapers in the world.

Monaco

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No matter which report you turn to, there is always one answer regarding the most expensive city in the world when it comes to real estate prices: Monaco. At 15 square meters per 1M U.S. Dollars, the sovereign state of Monaco is the world’s most expensive city in which to buy a home. With an international reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, Monaco inhabits a total of 0.78 square miles, making it the second smallest country after Vatican City. Aside from its awe-inspiring coastline and mountain slopes, Monaco has never levied income tax on individuals, though it does impose high social insurance taxes and discourages the registration of foreign taxes. However, the region still holds a reputation as a tax haven for the staggeringly wealthy.